Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Shaun.P, May 27, 2005.

  1. Shaun.P macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2003
    Omicron Persei 8
    Hey guys!

    I have a Nikon Coolpix 2100 (but a tiny piece of plastic which keeps the battery latch shut, has broke and I will need to send it to get fixed) and I want to start getting into photography. I am seriously thinking of selling my digital camera (with 128mb card and camera case - i.e. either get camera fixed or sell it as damaged - it does however still work, the battery latch just doesn't keep shut but taping it shut would work) and buying a new digital camera.
    I am also thinking of buying Adobe Photoshop Elements.

    What do you guys think? I'm an experienced computer user, but new to photography and photoshop elements.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  2. hhlee macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2005
    I started photography about 10 years ago with my dad's trusty Nikon FM2 (film!) Since then I've only owned 2 digital cameras, a Coolpix 2000 (I think?) and now I really only use my Canon Digital Rebel 300. Depending on your level of commitment, I'd suggest investing in a digital SLR. I really only use Photoshop, I've never used Photoshop Elements. The only thing I really do in Photoshop is slight touch ups and editing exposure and such with my .RAW files.

    Having said this.... you can still do great photography with a non SLR. In fact, some of my favorite pictures were taken with my old Coolpix camera, which had horrible manual settings. So you might want to keep your old digital camera just to mess around with.

    Experiment and try random stuff. If you're into digital editing, check out or other related sites. If you start getting into really technical photography and want to do huge formats (really only affordable on film still), pick up the classic photography books by Ansel Adams.

    An affordable alternative to digital editing might be GIMP. I haven't actually used this myself within the last 3 years but from what I've heard its supposed to be decent. You might find some RAW editors out there as well.

    Good luck!
  3. Shaun.P thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2003
    Omicron Persei 8
  4. hhlee macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2005
    single lens reflex

    more explicitly:

    when you use point and shoot cameras, a lot of the time the eye piece you are looking through approximates the view that your actual lens is looking at. an SLR just means that there's a mirror bouncing the image from your lens into your eye. when you take the picture, the mirror clicks upwards (that's part of the click you hear), so the light from the lens hits the actual film (or in the digital case, the sensors)

    i forgot to mention. the de facto site for digital cameras:
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Photoshop Elements
    After my switch to Mac I was forced to use the 30 day free trial of elements. I found iPhoto to be less than appealing, but I honestly never gave it a try. I do like iPhoto for other things. Anyway, Photoshop Elements (PE) had some nice easy to use features and it DID handle my Raw photos. There was limited Raw corrections that I could do, unlike PSCS (Photoshop CS), but there were some and enough for me. Being a film user and a bit of a purist, I was not in need of many tools to get my digital photos from card to screen. Before you invest in PSCS, I would spend the $100 on PE--without hesitation.

    If you were to ask me a year ago I would say hands down you need to pick up an old manual film camera and start learning the basics. If you know how to use a manual film camera and you're familiar with how film reacts to light, what the numbers mean on your lens, and numerous other things then you will ultimately be a more productive photographer. Notice I did not say BETTER. Simply more productive. By knowing these things and by really educating myself (as well as letting schools do it) I was extremely productive in the darkroom, I could meter many scenes with my eye and therefore in the field I did well using manual only, and more importantly, I could manipulate settings enough to make the camera produce an image that not too many people could repeat because it came from experimentation.

    A year later I would say that still, however I would be fooling myself. Since I stepped into digital a year ago I have found that my other cameras (35mm, medium & large format) have all been collecting a small amount of dust. Sure, they get picked up now and then, but not a whole hell of a lot. It is really because of Full Time College and a full time job, but still. I never noticed this when I was doing product and portraits in a studio for some guy who paid me in peanuts the good things about digital. I really had to own the camera myself and not be afraid to use it to really see the benefits. Now, if I con myself into doing a wedding I take 1000 photos instead of 300. I never miss a moment and I've been appreciated much more for it.

    What camera to buy
    What camera you buy is up to you. I will NEVER get into the argument about which is better...Nikon or Canon. Truth be known I have been a Nikon user forever, and a Minolta user prior to. I've never actually used Canons outside the professional studio. Will I? Yes eventually I will probably switch it up just for fun. Who knows? However, my choice to buy Nikon digital was all because I had the glass from my Nikon film cameras and I could use that. Had I been starting from scratch I believe I would have still bought Nikon because I went out and used the Canon in store next to the Nikon. The Nikon felt better in my hand. The dials felt more comfortable to me. However, cameras are sort of like gloves and you HAVE TO try them on. NEVER take the advice of anyone online. You need to go use the camera to really understand your decision to purchase.

    SLR or Point and Shoot (P&S)
    Well, this is like someone said up top. It all depends upon your level of commitment. However, I have taken people to the store and they bought the Nikon 8900 or whatever the number is...$1000 for the camera, basically what you'd spend on a Canon dRebel. And some have bought the dRebel and the D70. I own the D70 BTW. I think it all depends on you though. Would you like to run around and take photos or would you like to run around and take photos and experiment with how different lenses affect the scene? Again this is up to you as there are add ons for P&S camera lenses, but to me adding another piece of glass on top of the glass in the lens reduces the sharpness. If you don't believe me, try it. ;)

    My personal recommendations:
    Canon 20D - this is a whole lot of camera for a beginner, but you also have room to grow in it. Canon is great and they produce those real nice milky smooth images.
    Nikon D70 - you can get milky smooth images, but not like canon. Great color balance and really great in low light situations. Something I think some canons may lack---but this is word of mouth.
    Nikon D50 - the newest addition to the Nikon family. A nice step towards greatness, but not so much camera that other functions go to waste while you learn the basics.
    Nikon D100 - This is older and you'd find more used. The right person has the right D100 package for sale. If you weren't opposed to used I'd say D100 or....
    Canon 10D - the older brother of the XXD series. Whatever the 10D has I am not sure, but the 20D either added items or improved functions. Check out the best digital camera site in all the web.

    Best of luck to you in your adventure.
  6. Shaun.P thread starter macrumors 68000


    Jul 14, 2003
    Omicron Persei 8

    That post is very helpful. Thanks to all of your for your help!

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